Sunday, June 2, 2013
Reading Matters 2013 - The Reception
This weekend it was my absolute delight to attend the 10th biennial Reading Matters, hosted by the State Library’s Centre for Youth Literature. For those who don’t know, Reading Matters is Australia’s leading youth literature event – where local and overseas authors mix with their young readers in school’s day events, followed by a two day conference with teachers, librarians, teacher-librarians and other industry professionals. It’s epic.
This was my first ever Reading Matters and I honestly didn’t know quite what to expect . . . I knew that I loved the author line-up and the topics to be covered (everything from gate keeping to gender identity) piqued my interest. But I went along to the reception on Thursday night a little bit nervous and timid, afraid people would think that, as a blogger, I was encroaching on a professional space (then I felt a bit pretentious, having ‘Alpha Reader’ on my name-badge, like I was throwing a gauntlet down amongst all these fellow bookish types. I’m surprised nobody challenged me to a read-off).
But, actually, quite a few people chastised me when I introduced myself as “just a blogger.” And then any nerves I had dissipated when I started talking to the authors.
I got to meet Ambelin Kwaymullina, who I've long admired since reading (and loving) ‘The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf’ and interviewing her for Kill Your Darlings. I got the low-down on ‘Ashala Wolf’ #2 (due out in November) – and have been promised big revelations and a wee bit of romance.
And then there were my other favourite Aussie authors – Gabrielle Williams, Vikki Wakefield, Fiona Wood and Myke Bartlett. All four are currently working on new books and spoke a bit about them– everybody, watch this space because there are some amazing stories coming our way!
It was also my great pleasure to meet Jess, of Tales Compendium fame and a fellow blogger who became my conference bestie (bloggers, unite!). If you haven’t already, do check out her blog for some thoughtful and killer reviews (and because I think she might have a few giveaways up her sleeve following Reading Matters. . . )
I also got to meet Libba Bray and Gayle Forman at the reception (after spending a good hour quasi-stalking them around the room, then eventually getting the nerve to ask someone to introduce us). You guys. You GUYS! – these two are like rock stars. I’m not kidding. They’re cool like rockers, and they swear like sailors (I do believe Tim Sinclair even taught Gayle Forman some special Aussie profanity – like she needed more?). And they are horrendously hilarious – I thought they were funny individually, but get them together and it’s awesome-sauce. They are like the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler of the young adult scene . . . .don’t even get me started on what they said after we introduced them to the word ‘spunk’ (in reference to an attractive individual). I'm such a huge fan of both Libba and Gayle - and it was just the best thing to meet them and become even bigger fans of them as people, not just authors.
And it was pretty cool when Centre For Youth Literature Program Coordinator, Adele Walsh (also known as Persnickety Snark) offered Gayle Forman an ‘If I Stay’ casting idea – Australian heart-throb, Brenton Thwaites . . . and the very next day Gayle actually mentioned him in a movie-news tumblr post! Argh! It’s like we were present to hear (possible) movie magic happening!
So, that was the Reading Matters reception; swilling wine, hanging out with some formidable authors and feeling an electric buzz in the air for what tomorrow would bring . . .
. . . Notes on the 2-day conference will be posted soon!